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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nearly half of early breast cancers missed

Cancer screening programmes are failing to detect nearly half of the earliest cases of breast cancer according to research which suggests women's lives could be saved if all were offered hi-tech MRI scans.
The study in the Lancet medical journal found that x-ray based mammograms detect only 56% of early lesions in high risk women compared with 92% when magnetic resonance imaging scans (MRI), more commonly used for brain scans, are used. (SOURCE)

Christiane Kuhl, the lead researcher at the University of Bonn said: "If you picked up all cases of ductal carcinoma in situ [DCIS] you would prevent virtually all cases of breast cancer. Our finding that MRI is superior to mammography in detecting it turns things upside down."

Polly Curtis, health correspondentFriday August 10, 2007The Guardian

The Lancet study trialled MRI and mammography in 7,319 women referred from screening programmes, after having had a breast cancer or because there was a familial trait of cancer. Some 167 women were diagnosed with DCIS, 92% through the MRI but only 56% by mammogram. In women who had the most severe cases of DCIS, those most likely to lead to a diagnosis of breast cancer, MRI picked up on 98% and mammography on 52%.

"However, it is important to note that the women who took part in this study had a higher chance of an abnormality being found and therefore are not representative of the general population



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